I received my space gray (black) Apple sport’s watch on June 11, 2015. People ask about it all the time, so I thought I would share my “first impression” with you. If you're on the fence, this review may answer the question, "buy now or wait until v2?"
A couple disclosures to help balance the review. I am a watch guy. I’ve worn a watch since my parents purchased my first Timex for my 13th birthday (long ago). I have a lot of watches, high-end and low-end, I don’t like to wear the same watch all the time. I had an early calculator watch, I participated in Pebble’s initial Kickstarter. I have a specialty watch for when I scuba dived, did Triathlons, biked and monitored my heart rate (both Polar and Mio) during workouts. I used a BodyBugg 5 years ago to measure my activity and food intake. Today, I wear a Fitbit charge, I wear a MOOV when I swim and kickbox. So, I like wearables.
I thought what might give this review a little different slat is to write about this product from a Product Manager’s perspective, looking at this product simply as a v1.0 product launch. For those of you who have been following my blog, you also know that I can’t resist adding my predictions on the future product roadmap and offer up a couple suggestions on what would make the product perfect. I hope you enjoy it, as always, I enjoy your comments and emails, so drop me a note with your feedback.
A Strong Product Introduction
It’s actually mind bogging to think about the challenge Apple faced with this product introduction. I’m a software guy, which means I have a great deal of respect for hardware designers. Prototyping, alpha & beta physical product testing, iterating, tooling, supply chain management are all challenges we software guys get to avoid. In the early days we did worry about how many disks or CDs we needed, which is why we figured out how to allow people to download our software and install it; we needed to simplify distribution. Hardware designers don’t get this option. Consider this, most of the analyst have Apple selling 30 million watches in the first 12 months, though I suspect this number was a huge miss – more on that in a moment. Anyone what to guess how many units they ordered for the launch? 2, 3, 5 million? Then juggle 38 different models, it’s a crazy number for a version 1.0 product. New merchandizing challenges, cases, displays and training for their gurus. Add a new operating system (OS), new activation, and new integration with the iPhone – it was an amazing orchestration. Today, Apple Watches are available in their retail locations for immediate purchase, around the globe and soon will be in Best Buy.
The Apple Watch as jewelry
The watch is nice, I wouldn’t call it beautiful like some of the reviews. The reason is, 99% of the time, the watch display is off. Unlike a Rolex, Omega and similar priced Citizen watch, the Apple watch will not get you any compliments, because it’s turned off. Unlike other smart watches, like the Pebble, Apple decided it couldn’t risk the batter life to have the watch always telling time. I get the reason, however this choice places it more in the fitness tracking category for me, not a watch. A watch should always tell you, and anyone else around you glancing at it, the current time. Once the watch face is always on, the Apple watch case, band and watch face will take on the style of it’s owner. Not before....